|The successful sale of Rover Cars to the Phoenix Consortium
has prevented the closure of the Rover plant in Birmingham. This is the result of the
negotiations between the BMW Group and the Phoenix Consortium led by John Towers that were
successfully concluded this morning. Prof. Dr.-Ing. Joachim Milberg, Chairman of the Board
of Management of the BMW Group said: "After intense negotiations, we have managed to
find a buyer for Rover whose aim is to continue to run Rover and who will therefore
prevent the loss of thousands of jobs in the Rover plant in Birmingham, in the supplier
industry and in the retail business."
The BMW Group and Phoenix Consortium signed
and completed the purchase contracts in London today. The symbolic purchase price is 10
GBP. Phoenix will be taking responsibility for the development, production and
distribution of Rover Cars. In addition, Phoenix will aquire the MG brand and other
Heritage brands. Professor Milberg: "Rover customers can be certain that they will
continue to receive the expected high quality of customer service in the future too."
The Phoenix Consortium will take over production in Birmingham of the Rover 25 and 45,
the MGF sports car and the current Mini, until the start of production of the new Mini.
Furthermore, it was agreed to shift the production of the Rover 75 from Oxford to the
Birmingham plant. Phoenix plans to start production of the Rover 75 Estate at a later
point in time.
The BMW Board has thus taken the first important step towards implementing the
reorientation of the company.
On 16 March 2000, the Supervisory Board of BMW AG approved the Board of
Managements resolution to withdraw from Rover. To avoid a closure, the sale of Rover
always took first priority for the BMW Group. After negotiations with what was then the
only interested party, Alchemy Partners, had collapsed because of new demands that were
unreasonable, negotiations with the Phoenix Consortium, which had been formed in the
meantime, were started, these successfully concluded today.
As already announced the BMW Group will be investing in production of the new Mini in
Oxford rather than in Birmingham. The new Mini will be launched in the early summer of
2001. The completion in Hams Hall in the Midlands, UK, will proceed as planned.
(May 9, 2000)